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The Secret History by Donna Tartt

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

“If by romantic you mean solitary and introspective, I said, I think romantics are frequently the best classicists”.

After reading this book for over a month, I finally finished “The secret history” by Donna Tartt. The emotions I got while reading this book and even more when I closed this one for the last time. Now that I am starting to write about it, I find myself having some trouble putting my thoughts on paper. The story is so complex. Today I give you my thoughts on the book with a review. If you are interested, read the following text! X

The secret history starts with a prologue. The narrator tells what happened some years ago. The narrator tells that he and some of his friends have killed someone named Bunny and that they got away with it. The book is separated into two books. 

In the first book, we get to know the narrator Richard Papen, who lives in a small town called Plano, California. He hates his parents. His father owns a petrol station. They are middle-class people. Richard wants to move away from Plano; therefore, he fills in a university registration form in Hampden. He starts studying Psychology. 

At the university, there is a little group that studies classics. The classic students are very peculiar characters. Their teacher is Julian Morrow. He is known as a strange teacher. He only allows a very select group of students in his class, and he demands them to drop almost all their other classes. On the day when Richard is in the library, he helps the student group with a Greek grammatical problem, and that is the moment when Julian lets Richard join the Greek class too. 

The group now consists of six people: Edmund Corcoran – Bunny, Camilla Macaulay, Charles Macaulay, Francis Abernathy, Henry Winter and Richard. The five (without) Richard know each other for quite some time and became really good friends. Richard feels himself not really a part of the group even that he is accepted. 

Bunny, his parents, hardly give him any money. So, Henry, who is his best friend, pays a lot for him. During the Christmas holidays, when the campus is closed, Henry takes him to Italy. The others, except Richard, go home for the holidays. Richard finds a job and a place to sleep in an old warehouse owned by the old hippie Leo. His bedroom in the attic, and the ceiling, there is a big hole. Because it freezes like hell, Richard gets ill. Richard gets into an accident, and Henry finds him. He brings Richard to the hospital. It turns out Henry saved the life of Richard. Henry invites him to stay with him, and when a view days later, Richard is completely recovered, he moves back into his own room on campus. 

A view members of the group have a secret. When Richard finds out about the secret tells Henry everything. Richard guesses they have killed someone, and they, therefore, want to escape. 

In book two, the nights start snowing so that Bunny his body is covered by snow; he is found after ten days. There is a big search by two FBI-agents. Charles can’t handle the tension and gets into the alcohol. He is drunk for almost 24 hours. Back in Hampden, Camilla moves to a hotel room because Charles battered her. Henry, with whom she secretly developed a relationship, pays the rent.

When Francis and Richard visit Julian a couple of weeks later, he shows them a letter. The letter is written by Bunny and tells about the murder and Bunny’s fear to be killed by the others. Richard and Francis are relieved when Julian tells them he thinks it’s a sick joke made by some else, but when they see one page is written on writing paper of the hotel in which Bunny and Henry stayed in Rome, they are scared to death. 

Charles and Henry have turned against each other, and one day, Charles meets Henry at his place. At that moment, the whole story is changing. 

Then there is the epilogue, we swift again a view more years after they all lived there own lives. You will stay with questions, and your own mind will go crazy after reading this book. 

Overall I have LOVED this book. Even that it took me a long period of reading, this is one of my favourite reads of this year already. This was my first ever read of Donna Tartt, and after 200 pages into The secret history, I have ordered some of her other books too. 

I hope you have enjoyed this review and I am curious did you read The secret history? Or are you planning to? 

Have a wonderful day – love Cindy 

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Cindy Pel


I’m Cindy and known on the internet as The Socialbookgirl. I’m 22 years old, born and raised in the Netherlands, and I’m slightly obsessed with anything regarding books.


On this blog I will share my love for books with you by mostly eviews. These reviews will be honest at all time. The genres that I read are mostly: feelgood, romance, young-adult, new adult and since this year also fantasy.


Do you have questions, suggestions, would you like to chat, have a book reviewed or another collaboration with Thesocialbookgirl? Fill in the form below or send an email to and I will contact you soon.


LOVE, Cindy

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